Saturday 19 October 2013

Review ~ The Vicar's Wife by Katharine Swartz

Published 18 October
Lion Hudson PLC

The Hatton family relocate to a small village in Cumbria from a busy life in New York. Husband and father, Andrew is returning ‘home’, but for his wife Jane, and his children Natalie, Ben and Merry, the transition between their lives in the United States, with its vast array of facilities, is at first no match for relocating to the middle of nowhere, regardless of the beauty of the surrounding countryside. The house they intend to make their home is the dilapidated vicar’s house, which Jane discovers was once home to Alice, the eponymous vicar’s wife.

 What then follows is an interesting and well written dual time narrative, which flips effortlessly between the Hatton family in the present day, and the story of Alice, the vicar’s wife, who inhabited the house in the 1930’s. The similarities between the lives of Jane and Alice are well explored and the conflict which arises from living in such a rural environment is well defined. The way that both women attempt to cope with whatever life throws at them makes for fascinating reading.

For me, the historical section of the book was slightly stronger, as Alice really came alive and I wanted to know more about her life and empathised with her struggle to become integrated into village life. Jane on the other hand, seemed to be rather shallow and selfish, and I found her reluctance to settle in such a beautiful place quite an irritation, and yet, the minutia of her daily life resonates with realistic family dilemmas.

 If you like domestic dramas with an added touch of dual time history, then I am sure you would enjoy The Vicar’s Wife.

My thanks to NetGalley and Lion Hudson PLC for my ecopy of this book.


  1. Have this one to read. Will bump it now. :)


  2. I quite liked the sound of this one, especially the Cumbria setting, and your review has added to my interest, thanks Josie!

    1. Thanks Lindsay - Cumbria is a beautiful place, isn't it?


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